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How Is ATAR Calculated?

As you complete your high school education, one of the focal points is the final exams. It’s a trying and stressful time for parents and students. Ultimately, once you complete your exams, you will get an ATAR score that determines your choice after school and could also determine your future.

Why not also read: how to get 99 atar

But what is the ATAR score, and how is it calculated. Understanding ATAR could help you take your final years of high school more seriously and identify areas of improvement.

What is the ATAR?

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) is the number that determines a student’s entry into university. ATAR ranks the Year 12 results and measures the overall academic achievement of the student compared to other final year students in the rest of the country (other than Queensland).

It’s important to note that ATAR is not a score out of 100. Instead, it’s a rank. It allows tertiary institutions to compare the overall achievements of all the students that have completed Year 12.

Depending on your location, the ATAR might be calculated differently. In Victoria, the ATAR ranking is calculated by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) when you complete the Victorian Certificate of Education.

VTAC uses the VCE results issued by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to calculate the ATAR scores. A student must have completed at least four VCE studies in a recognised combination to calculate their ATAR. Once you complete VCE, the authority will notify you of your ATAR. VTAC also forwards the ranking to tertiary institutions where you apply to determine your eligibility for the courses, among other requirements.  

How is ATAR Calculated?

There are several steps and components involved in the calculation of ATAR ranking. It might sound complex, but it’s simple if you take the time to try and understand the system.

Each subject has four marks attributed to it, distributed as follows:

  • Examination mark
  • HSC mark
  • Assessment mark
  • Performance band

School Scaling

The first consideration that could affect your ATAR is your school’s rank. The rank of the school is what informs their assessment mark instead of the numerical result. The results of the student have to be moderated according to the performance of the rest of the students and their performance.

HSC Mark

The High School Certificate mark represents the student’s results on their examinations. It is put into bands according to the results. A student with a mark of 95 is in band six, which includes marks between 90-100.  The HSC mark is the average of the student’s assessment mark and their examination mark.

Scaling

Students can choose from over 80 subjects in HSC. The subjects are not always comparable. Therefore, the rank of each subject is determined by how many students take it and the average examination results.

The scaling for each subject is determined using various combinations to produce scaling factors which are then applied to HSC marks to create scaled marks per unit.

Aggregate

The ATAR ranking is calculated from the sum of the scaled marks for an individual’s top ten scoring units. Each unit is worth 50 points, with a total value of 500 points for all the units. Your total mark is referred to as the aggregate, and it is what determines an ATAR.

ATAR represents the percentage of the population that you outperformed. It ranges from 0-99.95 in intervals of 0.05. if you receive an ATAR of 60, it means you performed better than 60% of the students that year.

How to Prepare for NAPLAN

The approach for preparation that students take when preparing for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) assessment is very different from the approach of end-of-term tests.

The results of the NAPLAN exams are critical in charting the student’s progress against the national standards. Unlike the end-of-term test, NAPLAN focuses on skills that students develop and improve over time. That means, even the approach of preparing for the exam should be different to position the student in the best place for success.

Here are a few tips on how a student can best prepare for the NAPLAN exams and improve their chances of success.

Make the child exam-ready

NAPLAN assesses skills that are developed over time. Therefore, the child cannot prepare for this exam the same way they prepare for end-of-term tests. The skills required for the NAPLAN exams need to be developed continuously and improved throughout the year, not just a few days before the NAPLAN test.

You should focus on helping the student develop their literacy and mathematical skills to their full potential. The literacy skills include speaking, listening, and critical thinking. Providing children with materials they need regularly to harness and perfect these skills is vital.

Don’t put too much pressure on the child

Every parent understands how critical it is for their child to do well on their NAPLAN test. However, putting too much pressure on the child can cause anxiety leading to careless mistakes that the child could avoid if they are cool, calm and collected.

Working in smaller groups and ensuring the child is constantly engaged by a teacher or a NAPLAN tutor can help the child refine their weak areas in literacy and numeracy skills and improve their confidence which will enhance their overall performance.

Help the child practice using online practice test

One of the ways you can help your child practice for the upcoming NAPLAN tests is by ensuring they are aware of what to expect. This will help them stay more relaxed and make the situation more predictable.

You can visit the local bookstore or search online for NAPLAN-styles tests. Although most of these are not endorsed by the government, the goal is to get the child to familiarise with the tests and know what to expect.

Work on the weak areas

It’s common for students to struggle in certain areas. These can be literacy, reading, or numeracy. Regardless of the challenges, the student will be more confident sitting for the tests knowing that they put extra work into these areas and try harder to get better results.

Enrolling additional help like buying them extra resources, spending extra time with them working on these areas, or even hiring an online tutor is an excellent way of improving the performance of the child and consequently their confidence while sitting for NAPLAN.

Get a good night’s sleep

It’s imperative for the student to get enough sleep the night prior to the test. Proper rest is crucial to the performance of the brain. If the child has enough rest, they can focus better, they have good cognitive speed, math processing and decision making.

Ensuring your child gets enough sleep the night before the tests can make a big difference. It is the icing on the cake that can help you realise all the efforts you have put into preparing for the test.

Final Remarks

NAPLAN is one of those tests that you can’t wait until the last days to start preparing. The tests focus on already acquired skills and aim to test if the child is improving at different stages. The best way to prepare for NAPLAN is to make it long-term. Regularly check on the progress your child is making at school and make an effort to assist in areas where they are struggling.

How to Study for Maths

For most students, maths is a subject they could do without if given a choice. They would love to get better grades, but there’s a notion that it is almost impossible. Maths isn’t as difficult or as scary as it sounds. It just needs a little more dedication and focus, and you can be on your way to excellent grades.

The best thing about math is that once you get the hang of it, you won’t have any problem getting good grades going forward. If you’re adamant about improving your score in math, here are a few math study tips that will help:

Understand that math is a cumulative subject

Math is a cumulative subject. What you learn today is the foundation of something you’re going to learn tomorrow and so on. Everything you learn in math will be built on something you learnt in the past.

That means you have to attend as many classes as possible and start taking the subject seriously at the earliest possible time. This will allow you to build a strong foundation that will come in handy when you begin handling the more complex subjects. You always have to ensure you stay on top of your work at all times.

Practice, practice and practice some more!

It’s not enough to learn the chapters in class. You also have to keep practising them and solving related problems to understand and internalise the concepts fully. Constant practice ensures you always keep your mind sharp and well prepared at all times.

Try and dedicate a few hours of your day to solving different math problems. Even when you’re working on other subjects, slip in a bit of maths, so you don’t lag behind.

Start by solving examples

You never want to start by solving complex problems because they can quickly make you feel frustrated and the subject even more. Instead, try and focus on solving examples, especially when you have just started on the chapter. This way, you’re not discouraged, and you give yourself more time to understand the concept as you slowly transition into complex problems.

Don’t lose touch with the basics

As mentioned earlier, math is a cumulative subject. You rely on the basics learned in the past to solve complex problems in the future. That means touching base once in a while is just as important as trying to understand the exciting and new concepts. You need to keep your foundation strong, which means practising sums from selected chapters in your previous years, so your basics are always sharp.

Learn from your mistakes

When you’re working with different problems, you’re going to make mistakes. Work through the process for each solution. If you have made mistakes, review them and understand how you made a mistake. This will make you more vigilant and help you avoid the same mistake in the future. It’s an excellent way of becoming stronger and improving your mathematical skills.

Create a distraction-free study environment

A quality math revision session requires a distraction-free environment that allows you to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. This is more so when dealing with complex problems like geometry, trigonometry and algebra.

For some students, background music can create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere that stimulates information retention.

Create a mathematical dictionary

Maths has numerous terminologies and vocabularies. Sometimes going through previous notes can take valuable revision time and can be frustrating. Instead, you can create flashcards or notes that are easily accessible and detail all this information in an easy-to-find manner. Include the meaning and some samples where necessary.

Consider hiring an online tutor

If you feel you can’t improve your math scores alone, maths tutors are an excellent resource. With a tutor, you have a dedicated professional that will help identify potential problem areas and come up with ways to help you improve.

How to Make Maths Fun

A majority of students consider maths a difficult subject. Not because it is hard but because they hate it. This is usually because of the approach most teachers use to teach Math. Most Math Tutors present mathematical concepts in a way that most students don’t understand. It’s possible to make Maths fun for all levels and make it easy for them to understand and excel at the subjects.

Why not also read: Year 10 Maths Guide

Here are a few ways you can inject some fun into your math lessons and make it the subject that every student looks forward to.

Use modelling and student names

A good amount of math problems are story options. Using a student’s name is an effective way of keeping the class engaged. Coming up with enticing stories helps to retain the student’s attention longer.

In lower classes, some students might have problems understanding the question. Using visual aids like candy to help act out the problem will make the problem more relatable and grab the students’ attention. This also helps to create relevancy of the problems for the students.

Take the class outdoors

Math is all around us. It doesn’t have to be constricted to a classroom. Breaking the norm once in a while and going outdoors to get some fresh air and learning maths will help the kids easily recognise shapes and different concepts.

Why not also read: How To Get an A in Maths?

The outdoors is a great resource for the creative math teacher that wants to take a unique and practical approach to math. Whether it is shapes, numbers, or story problems, the outdoors has a resource you can use to help your students visualise the problem and understand it better.

You can also incorporate trips to the grocery where you can teach the kids to count as you shop or take a road trip to take the pressure of learning out of the equation and open up the students to learning opportunities.

Play math brain games

As the young mind develops, you can incorporate brain games. Brain games work particularly well when working on equations. A good example is using flashcards which can aid in memory and retention. The cards can also help express values differently, making them more stylish and relatable to the kids.

Use video games

Video games play a big role in the lives of kids in the modern world. It’s time you embraced them and used them to our advantage. If your student is a gamer, you can make a connection between math and gaming to create powerful teaching tools that they will quickly understand and fall in love with. There are excellent math games and apps that the child can use.

You can also use their passion for video games to show them how critical math is in their long-term goals. This is particularly the case for children that want to become coders or want to build apps. The motivation could trigger them to work harder and change their approach to math.

Final Thoughts 

Maths doesn’t have to be a hard and detested subject. It only needs a little creativity and dedication to change the perception of students on the subject. Once the perception changes, students will realise that Maths isn’t a difficult subject. It is actually manageable with the right attitude and consistency.

Benefits of Homeschooling

Homeschooling is rapidly rising in popularity in Australia. Parents have varying reasons for choosing to home school their children ranging from giving the child a better learning environment and even having more control over the content the child uses for education.

Why not also read: How to do well in VCE

Similar to putting your child in school, there are benefits associated with choosing to homeschool your child. It’s imperative to consider these benefits to explore and exploit homeschooling fully.

No peer pressure

One of the challenges that come with putting your child in school is peer pressure. Homeschooling substantively cuts out negative peer pressure by limiting the child’s exposure to the outside world.

Negative peer pressure like drugs and vital safety issues is the leading reason why parents want to home school their children. The peer pressure concern is heightened with high school students, but depending on the environment and the school the child is in, it can start earlier.

Improved emotional freedom

Normal classrooms pile a lot of pressure on the student. Kids have to try to fit in and will often give in to peer pressure. Being educated at home doesn’t come with the same challenges. The child and the parent don’t have to worry about bullying or being ostracised, among other social pressures associated with schooling.

Why not also read: Selective Test Preparation Guide

Most homeschooled students are more expressive emotionally and don’t have a loss of self-esteem. Generally, these students seem happy and grow up to be more emotionally mature adults. 

Homeschoolers do better on tests

A recent study revealed that homeschoolers perform just as good if not better at tests in students homeschooled right to the high school level. This is best attributed to the more comfortable learning environment of the student and the fact that homeschooling focuses on the pace of the child, allowing them to learn at a rate that is comfortable for them.

Flexible schedules

Homeschooling benefits are not only for the students but for the entire family as well. When homeschooling, the rest of the family doesn’t have to worry about dropping or picking up the kids from school. There are no meetings or commitments. Also, the parents decide the length of the lessons, and they also decide when to take holidays.

This makes it much easier for the family to plan their schedule with reduced limitations and time constraints.

The more flexible schedule means more time for field trips, museum and park visits, which can tie in perfectly with what the student is learning at the time.

Children learn at their own pace

The public school system is often criticised for not catering to slow learners or the different learning methods of kids. It’s often considered a stringent method that sidelines some of the students. Homeschooling avoids confusion by letting the kids learn at their own pace. The parents and private tutors can also determine how best the child learns and adapt this to the curriculum making progress faster and more effective.

Why not also read: How to get 99 ATAR

This is more so the case for children that have special needs. In a public system, the child might be treated inadequately, which could result in social stigma. In a homeschool setting, the special needs of the child are a priority. The child is put in an environment that allows them to thrive in education.

There’s plenty of time for parenting

With homeschooling, the parent is intimately involved in the learning process. It gives the parents and the children a chance to bond and share in the excitement and joy of learning.

Closing Remarks

From these benefits, it’s easy to see why more parents are considering homeschooling as a viable option for their students. With invaluable resources like online tutoring, it is now easier for parents to provide their children with the best education right at the comfort of their homes.